same dreamy impressions of voices; and awakening to an indolent curiosity upon the subject, opened his eyes.
He was so indolent, that after glancing at the hassocks and the pew, he was already half-way off to sleep again, when it occurred to him that there really were voices in the church: low voices, talking earnestly hard by: while the echoes seemed to mutter responses. He roused himself, and listened.
Before he had listened half a dozen seconds, he became as broad awake as ever he had been in all his life. With eyes, and ears, and mouth, wide open, he moved himself a very little with the utmost caution, and gathering the curtain in his hand, peeped out.
Tom Pinch and Mary. Of course. He had recognised their voices, and already knew the topic they discussed. Looking like the small end of a guillotined man, with his chin on a level with the top of the pew, so that he might duck down immediately in case of either of them turning round, he listened. Listened with such concentrated eagerness, that his very hair and shirt-collar stood bristling up to help him.
`No,' cried Tom. `No letters have ever reached me, except that one from New York. But don't be uneasy on that account, for it's very likely they have gone away to some far-off place, where the posts are neither regular nor frequent. He said in that very letter that it might be so, even in that city to which they thought of travelling--Eden, you know.'
`It is a great weight upon my mind,' said Mary.
`Oh, but you mustn't let it be,' said Tom. `There's a true saying that nothing travels so fast as ill news; and if the slightest harm had happened to Martin, you may be sure you would have heard of it long ago. I have often wished to say this to you,' Tom continued with an embarrassment that became him very well, `but you have never given me an opportunity.'
`I have sometimes been almost afraid,' said Mary, `that you might suppose I hesitated to confide in you, Mr. Pinch.'
`No,' Tom stammered, `I--I am not aware that I ever supposed that. I am sure that if I have, I have checked the thought directly, as an injustice to you. I feel the delicacy of your situation in having to confide in me at all,' said Tom, `but I would risk my life to save you from one day's uneasiness: indeed I would!'
`I have dreaded sometimes,' Tom continued, `that I might have displeased you by--by having the boldness to try and anticipate your wishes now and then. At other times I have fancied that your kindness prompted you to keep aloof from me.'
`It was very foolish: very presumptuous and ridiculous: to think so,' Tom pursued: `but I feared you might suppose it possible that I--I--should admire you too much for my own peace; and so denied yourself the slight assistance you would otherwise have accepted from me. If such an idea has ever presented itself to you,' faltered Tom, `pray dismiss it. I am easily made happy: and I shall live contented here long after you and Martin have forgotten me. I am a poor, shy, awkward creature: not at all a man of the world: and you should think no more of me, bless you, than if I were an old friar!'
If friars bear such hearts as thine, Tom, let friars multiply; though they have no such rule in all their stern arithmetic.
`Dear Mr. Pinch!' said Mary, giving him her hand; `I cannot tell you how your kindness moves me. I have never wronged you by the lightest doubt, and have never for an instant ceased to feel that you were all-- much more than all--that Martin found you. Without the silent care and friendship I have experienced
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